Monday, December 19, 2011

5 Swedish Christmas traditions

My family is celebrating Christmas in Sweden with family this year, and it is a little bit different than when we celebrate it at home in Canada. Here are 5 Swedish Christmas traditions that we enjoy when we're there:
  1. Christmas comes on Christmas Eve - Yep, in Sweden Christmas Eve is the big day with the big family dinner, the presents and Santa. This is great in one way, because it's like having Christmas one day early, if you're used to the North American way of things. The only problem: presents usually are not opened until after dinner, making it a loooooong day for kids.
  2. Open the door when Santa comes knocking - In Sweden (maybe because he has more time there?) Santa actually comes knocking on the door in person, to deliver the Christmas presents. His standard line is "Are there any nice children here?". (And yes, this means that there is often a bit of an argument between various grownups about who is going to "go outside and check if Santa's coming yet"...)
  3. Watch the Disney medley on TV - When I grew up, this was an absolute must, as in: everybody watched it. These days, I think it's starting to lose its lustre a bit and some people might even be skipping it. It's basically a clip show featuring scenes and songs from various Disney movies throughout the years, always ending with Benjamin Cricket singing "When you wish upon a star".
  4. Eat some delicious Christmas ham & pickled herring - There are lots of traditional dishes on the Swedish Christmas table, which is usually a buffet (or "smorgasbord") of various hot and cold dishes. But there is almost always a big ham to carve, and various kinds of pickled herring to try.
  5. Drink some glögg - This is the Swedish version of mulled wine. It's served warm, often from a copper pot, spiced with various spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. The traditional accompaniments are raisins and chopped almonds. Here is one recipe, though I would advice everyone to be careful with the sugar: you don't want to add too much... To me, the smell of glögg is Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!

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